The Defense Industry is Ever Adapting

Pictured left (L to R): Col. Paul Porter, Director of Contracting/JBSA, 502nd Contracting Squadron; William Loiry, Chairman, DLF; Lana Corrigan, Executive Vice President, DLF; Brig. Gen. Greg Chaney, Commander, Texas National Guard; and Maj. Gen. Patrick W. Burden, Deputy Commanding Gen. for Combat Systems, Army Futures Command, pictured at DLF’s Southwest Defense Contracting Summit 2019 in San Antonio, Texas.

Each year, the Defense Leadership Forum organizes an average of six events that connect businesses and services in the defense industry. With the presence of COVID-19, the Defense Leadership Forum has had to shift its perspectives and planning in regards to hosting live events.

The Defense Leadership Forum is a public service organization bringing together Congressional leaders, Pentagon officials and business representatives to identify the best solutions to defend the United States. Its leaders have brought together more than 100,000 Congressional, government, military and industry leaders. DLF connects the government and military community in addition to the defense industry.

Some of these events include the Air Force Contracting Summit, the Southwest Defense Contracting Summit and the Navy Contracting Summit. The Air Force Contracting Summit in particular draws a large crowd to the Emerald Coast region, taking place at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa.

Lana Corrigan, Executive Vice President of the Defense Leadership Forum, provides strategic planning for all programs and events, develops alliances with defense-related businesses and communicates with all vendors and venues, amongst many other roles.

“Our events take place all over the country, but without the ability to travel or gather, we quickly realized we needed to pivot our strategy while still delivering the information that is crucial to this industry,” said Corrigan.

Its greatest asset during this time is technology as DLF is now offering weekly webinars, live-streaming and newsletters in an effort to keep the community connected and productive. The webinars include interactions with military contracting authorities as well as updates on current government funding geared toward support of businesses during COVID-19.

The newsletter topics focus on defense contracting opportunities and on how businesses are pivoting, reorganizing and restructuring during this unprecedented time. The newsletter is sent to the list of thousands of attendees who have attended past events.

Charles Sills and Howard Snow are two featured subject matter experts who are currently presenting a weekly webinar series on various aspects of how to do business with the government.

Snow is the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy and the national moderator for the defense conferences hosted by the Defense Leadership Forum. Snow has over 35 years of military, business, energy and government experience. Sills is the program director for the Defense Leadership Forum and has served in national security positions in the Pentagon, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the U.S. Middle East Force Command and the Supreme Allied Command, NATO/Atlantic.

While DLF has had to pause or reschedule some summits and events, they are considering strategy shifts and how they can offer live streaming in the future. All of this has brought into perspective the challenges and the rewards of live events.

“We now realize the value of in-person meetings,” said Corrigan. “When any organization puts together an event, it translates into support for the local area and its economy. When an event is held, the funds directly contribute to that area. This is something to consider when moving forward — how we can replenish the economies in these impacted cities. We can always be conscious about how we contribute.”

DLF has found ways to continue to connect the government, military and defense contracting community through online platforms and looks forward to hosting in-person and live-streamed events later this year and into 2021.